11 Jul 5 Reasons Personal Injury Lawyers See an Increase in Car Accidents During the Summer
The summer weather is finally here and the last thing you want to think about is making a call to a personal injury lawyer. It is essential to be aware of the increased risks summer weather can bring. Read on to learn more about how to keep you and your family safe on the roads and water this summer.
Car Accident Claims Increase in the Summer
Many people don’t realize summer weather comes with increased risks, especially when it comes to road safety. Although you don’t need to worry about icy surfaces or spring flooding, the summer season has hidden dangers you might not expect.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), July and August have the highest average daily fatality rate, followed closely by June, September, and October. It was also found that weekend driving came with a higher risk of fatality than weekdays, with the highest fatality rate being between 3 pm and 7 pm.
When the temperatures start to rise, Canadians want to get outside. Being aware of potential road risks is the best way to ensure a safe and happy summer. Below are 5 potential risks you and your family should be aware of during your summer holidays.
1. Inexperienced Drivers
Once school is out, new drivers are likely to get behind the wheel. While the hope is that a new driver will be more cautious, this is unfortunately not always the case. The risk of teen drivers behind the wheel increases the probability of collisions due to their potential lack of experience, poor judgment, and peer pressure.
The leading cause of death among those aged 16 to 25 is driving accidents, with alcohol or drugs being a factor in 55% of those crashes. Studies have shown that younger drivers are often involved in driving accidents due to a combination of inexperience and immaturity.
To limit the need for a personal injury lawyer to file an auto accident claim, ensure your teen is prepared before they hit the road. For parents, that might mean handing the job of driving lessons over to a professional and making sure your teen is confident and experienced before driving alone.
2. Road Trips
Packing up the kids and hitting the road can be a great way to spend time as a family. However, things can take a turn for the worse when roads are congested. Dealing with construction zones, aggressive drivers or navigating new cities and unfamiliar routes can be a recipe for disaster. Even innocent activities such as sightseeing can cause drivers to slow down or drive erratically.
We’ve all heard the joke; “there are only two seasons in Canada – winter, and construction.” Construction zones can be frustrating for a number of reasons. They create bottlenecks on the road that slows traffic to a halt and can be hazardous to the construction workers themselves.
From the years 1982-2014, nearly 25,000 people were killed in construction zone crashes. The peak year for construction and maintenance zone deaths was in 2002 with 1,186 fatalities. Thankfully, the number of on-site deaths has declined since then. From 2008-2014, 591 deaths were reported.
When you and your family decide to pack up and set out on a weekend road trip, take extra time to account for construction zones. Planning ahead will provide an extra layer of safety for you, your family and all workers on the road.
3. Motorcycles & Cyclists
You know the weather is warming up when you start to see bikers and cyclists on the roads. This can present a variety of risks to motorists and bikers alike.
Sharing the road with cyclists can present added difficulty to motorists when maneuvering through traffic, parking and turning. Another added risk is that cyclists are often unseen in blind-spots and unheard since they aren’t in a vehicle.
According to Stats Canada, injury and fatalities are on the rise for cyclists. Between 1994 and 2012 an average of 74 cyclist fatalities occurred and 7,500 serious injuries were reported.
Driving a motorcycle, e-bike, or moped, comes with a high risk of injury. A study published by the Canadian Medical Association found that motorcycles account for 10 percent of motor vehicle-related deaths in Ontario.
One contributor to the study, Dr. Daniel Pincus of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, weighed in during an interview with 680 News. Dr. Pincus urged people to be more aware of the increased risks associated with riding a motorcycle.
“Motorcycles account for five times the deaths, six times the medical costs and 10 times the severe injuries – those injuries being ones that would matter to your life – as compared to cars.”
As the study notes, despite improved car safety and accident outcomes, motorcycle accident numbers have remained the same or increased over the past 10 years.
It’s hard to argue with facts. Whether you’re a biker, a cyclist or a motorist, summer comes with an elevated risk of accident or injury. As an auto accident lawyer, we see these stats turn to reality all the time. Make safety your first priority before you hit the road.
4. High temperatures
We wait a long time to feel the heat of summer, but those scorching temperatures can wreak havoc on your car and sometimes, your safety. Increased friction caused by driving for long periods, sharp corners and frequent braking on hot pavement can lead to blown-out tires. If this happens, a serious accident could be the result.
In addition to your rubber tires, surfaces such as metal rail lines, asphalt, and concrete can buckle and expand during periods of high heat. For instance, when asphalt gets too hot, the surface of the road can dip or pit causing dangerous ridges for motorists.
One way to prevent tire blowouts and potential accidents due to heat is to avoid traveling during extreme heat. If you must travel, do your best to take frequent breaks and allow your car to cool down away from the hot sun. Driving at a reduced speed can also help prevent accidents.
5. Impaired Driving
It’s no surprise that alcohol is one of the leading causes of motor accidents in Canada. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an average of 4 Canadians die each day from drug or alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.
With the recent legalization of cannabis, the Government of Canada now reports that drugs account for more impaired driving crashes than alcohol. Of those Canadians killed in crashes, 40 percent tested positive for drugs and 33 percent tested positive for alcohol.
Cell phones, eating, and sightseeing have one thing in common; distracted driving. Distracted driving is an obvious impairment because it often takes your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. Whether you’re guilty of driving distractedly or you encounter distracted drivers on the road, take extra precautions to avoid accidents. Often a change of habits or allowing extra time for travel is the best way to avoid in-car distractions. If you have trouble ignoring those texts or calls, silence your phone or use a hands-free device to stay safe.
Barrie Personal Injury Lawyers
This summer, take extra care to avoid problematic drivers and reduce the 5 risks associated with vehicle accidents. If you do face an accident or injury on the road, speak to one of our personal injury lawyers who can help you understand your rights and work with you to build a case in your favour.